Whether you're a custodial guardian or just giving mom or dad a hand, you and many people like you all over New Jersey assist their parents with their Medicare concerns every year. They may be new to Medicare, doing a review during the enrollment periods, or maybe there's a problem that needs solving.
But you get it: Dealing with government forms and websites feels a little better with assistance, but what do you do when you are confused while helping parents with Medicare?
If you are the one making phone calls on your parents' behalf, the answer to that question is "yes." Your parent or parents need to fill out an authorization form so that the government offices and insurance providers know you are accessing their healthcare information with permission. The permission form is available on the Medicare.gov website and can be accessed by clicking the link here. Whichever insurance carrier your parents need help with will also have their own form to authorize you as a representative which you can get by calling the member services number on the back of their card.
To keep things simple, most of what you need to do to be as helpful as you can to your parents when dealing with Medicare can be organized into three major tips:
1. Study up. Learn as much as you can about Medicare in their state. It would help if you know everything you can about your parents' health as well as their income. Are they receiving retirement funds or still working? How much are they receiving in Social Security? Study how Medicare works and the various plans. Take note of where this information is so you can double-check later.
2. Keep your paperwork and dates organized. Every form you or your parents fill out, keep a copy, label it clearly, and file it where you can easily find it. Keep both print and digital copies if you can. Mark in your calendars, physical and digital, all your important dates, which include enrollment periods, due dates for forms, appointments, etc.
3. Ask for help when you need it. Sometimes, people delay getting important paperwork or even calling in an issue because they are uncertain, especially if they're the ones in charge of keeping track. Don't let this happen. If you are having trouble, remember there are free resources that can help you. Helping parents with Medicare may not always be easy, and nobody is expecting you to be an expert overnight or to remember everything.
You can speak to a Medicare broker in your area for free by contacting a firm like New Jersey Medicare Brokers. The professionals understand the available plans in your area, regardless of the provider, and can advise you on any questions you have. Additionally there is no charge to meet with them and instead of you spending all day and night learning everything about Medicare you can speak with an agent who can give you unbiased advice.